Patrick Brown gave a wry smile when asked about his welcome to the Golden Knights.
“What are you talking about?” he asked innocently.
He knew what, and it was the fact that in the last competitive game he played, his Charlotte Checkers defeated the Knights’ American Hockey League affiliate, the Chicago Wolves, to win the Calder Cup championship.
Brown said all that’s in the past. He wants to make an impact on his new team and provide depth so it can win a Cup of its own.
“Everyone’s been great,” Brown said. “Really friendly guys. It’s a new season; we’re all teammates now.”
Brown, 27, signed a two-year contract worth up to $1.4 million with the Knights on the opening day of free agency July 1. The self-described “gritty, hard-nosed” forward is doing his best to make the team out of training camp, but if he doesn’t, he’ll be a much-needed insurance policy in Chicago.
The Knights lost forwards Tomas Hyka and Daniel Carr, who both spent most of last season with the Wolves but played a combined 23 NHL games, this offseason. Left wing Brandon Pirri, whom the Knights called up for 31 games last season, might win a job out of camp.
That means Brown, in the worst case scenario for himself, will provide a veteran presence in Chicago and serve as organizational depth. But he’s obviously hoping it doesn’t come to that and he earns a bottom-six job out of camp.
“I’m trying to score, but if it doesn’t happen, hopefully I’m doing a lot of other good things out there,” said Brown, who had 35 points in 70 AHL games last season. “Blocking shots, getting the puck out of my zone, forechecking, all that stuff.”
Defenseman Shea Theodore participated in his first practice of training camp Thursday along with the rest of the Knights players who didn’t travel for their preseason game at the Los Angeles Kings.
Gallant said last week that the Knights will bring Theodore back slowly because he was mostly inactive for six weeks after the surgery.
Odds and ends
— Defenseman Nate Schmidt accomplished something unique at the morning skate when his stick broke and his blade flew past the net and over the glass. He bowed to an impressed crowd afterward.
— The Knights created an account on the social media video app TikTok. Fans can follow them by searching “VegasGoldenKnights” on the platform.
Patrick Brown file
Birthplace: Bloomfield Hills, Mich.
College: Boston College (2012 NCAA champion)
NHL experience: 28 games
2018-19 stats (AHL): 19 goals, 16 assists in 70 games (Calder Cup champion)
Fun fact: His uncle, John Mara, is co-owner of the NFL’s New York Giants